Sleep apnea is not just “loud snoring” – instead, it is a condition that suffocates oxygen to the body and brain, repeatedly at night. Even without the patient being really aware. It is a bit like being strangled or drowning, on and off, repeatedly through the night and without waking fully up while it happens. The word “apnea” itself, is a lack of breathing, in this case for 10 seconds or longer, each time, many times a night. The strangulation occurs from a combination of factors that include tissues in the throat, the tongue, the position of the jaw, muscles in the area and more.
The condition can range from forgetfulness, being regularly tired, to more serious side effects, like increased risk for heart or brain problems, and falling asleep while driving. Damage can extend not just to the mouth, heart and brain, but to other parts of the body as well. Snoring can be a factor, but the condition is much more than simply snoring. Please keep in mind that a person with this condition might not even realize how bad it is.
The solution can include an appliance nicknamed a “snore guard” appliance, to help with airflow by slightly altering the position of the jaw. Many patients who have tried to wear a CPAP device for their apnea and that qualify, turn to a snore guard as a more comfortable alternative. At your next dental visit, please talk to our doctors here about how you feel. We will work with you to find a solution, and return you to more restful, and much more healthy nights (and days)!